The Tamil Nadu Directorate of Elementary Education has announced that the public exams for students of Classes 5 and 8 will be conducted in their own schools. The announcement comes days after the department had stated that the students will have to go to other schools to give their exams.
According to a circular issued by the Directorate of Elementary Education on Tuesday, all the schools that follow the Tamil Nadu state syllabus till Class 5 must function as an examination centre to conduct public exams for Class 5. Similarly, schools that follow state syllabus for Classes 5 and 8 must also function as examination centres for the public exams scheduled for the two classes. This circular will replace the earlier one which said that students will have to give their exams in designated centres, similar to Classes 10 and 12.
The government of Tamil Nadu introduced public exams for students of Classes 5 and 8 from the current academic year. While Class 5 students will write public exams in three subjects -- English, Tamil and Math, Class 8 students will give their exams in all five subjects. After introducing public exams for Classes 5 and 8, the state government was also considering making the students write those exams in common examination centres. However, this was met with severe opposition from various quarters, which said that the students in rural areas would be made to suffer since they might have to travel long distances to reach the allocated exam centre.
The introduction of public exams for students as young as 10 and 13 years old was met with severe criticism from various stakeholders including parents and teachers, who said that it was unfair to burden children with public examinations at a young age. Critics also pointed out that this move could potentially increase the rate of dropouts from schools. However, the Tamil Nadu government responded that the examinations are being conducted to assess the learning levels in students and the results of these exams will not be published.